Archive for March, 2012


Having swept off to startling opener of 10.06 secs (2.8m/sec) the previous weekend, Wallace Spearmon set the sprinting world alight and buzzing in anticipation of his follow-up over his specialty of the 200m at the Bobby Lane Invitational, Arlington in Texas, and he could hardly hide himself that he was expecting something really special to register on the scoreboard at the far end of the race.

In so far as that he set up, along with Saucony, a competition online for fans to predict precisely the outcome just prior to his second outing of the outdoor season – and astonishingly, there were actually two to hit the bull’s eye!

The ‘Prince’ did not only turn equal to expectations but ran away with the senses of spectators as he breezed into the lead round a smooth second half of the bend and poured on the pace down the home straight to win by a mile in an electrifying 19.95 secs, even easing up towards the line.

The god of winds had allied with him to show his favour and Spearmon responded with a dream execution throughout to ride on a nearly perfect tailwind of 1.8m/sec and offer frightening glimpses into what could be anticipated on the grand floodlit stage of London in August all things equal.

Even more so when his time was the fastest ever performed at sea level at this particular early phase of the year to raise his sub 20 secs runs up to 22 over the distance and come within a mere two of the man topping the respective list at 24, great Frankie Fredericks.

Some way behind him, came home a resurgent Jeremy Wariner in a vintage display over a powerful second half to steal the runner-up spot from Canadian Jared Connaughton by a mere hundredth in 20.53 secs, his fastest ever in March, and announce that he is fully back to his very best so everyone had better pay heed.

Earlier on the day, Darvis ‘Doc’ Patton staged a rousing prelude to his partner’s lightning ride round the furlong as he roared to a searing 10.04 secs (1.1m/sec) in the 100m, fastest time in the world, for a commanding victory, stressing his own credentials as a main contender to make the US Olympic sprint team this summer.

So much so that he even let drop that he might have liked something in the 9.9 secs to figure up on the board after the race, a sign of how well he is feeling at this early stage.

But it was also a race that marked a comeback to form for ‘forgotten’ Brit Tyrone Edgar as he followed through behind in fifth place in a solid UK-leading 10.30 secs to shrug off the woes of two years in the shades, reigniting his own Olympic hopes into the bargain.

That was incidentally his fastest run in the dash since 2010 and hopefully will shape the platform to catapult back into the 10.0s and why not even faster if it comes to that, a most welcome present for his 30th birthday a few days later.

Fellow U23 Briton Lorraine Ugen followed up nicely a highly surprising, slightly windy, 6.83m in the long jump at Fort Worth a weekend earlier with a double PB showing over the sprints setting 11.68 and 24.51 secs in the 100m (1.9m/sec) and 200m (0.0) respectively, a very intriguing figure heading to the summer season.

Top of the bill in the latter came Osaka 2007 finalist La Shauntea Moore who set the third fastest time in the world so far in 22.94 secs on a 1.3m/sec tailwind in a renewed attempt to return to the hub of affairs.

Results

http://www.utamavs.com/livestats/m-track/2012utabobbylane/

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Oliver storms to scorching opener

David Oliver showed over his injury worries and back into his combative mood as he went rampant over the sticks to stage an intimidating outdoor debut in Florida.

At a low-key meet in Lake Buena Vista, near Orlando in Florida, he defied a fierce headwind of -3.2m/sec in his heat to set an impressive early world-leading 13.30, translating into something in the 13.0s on a mild tailwind.

His return in the final a little later might have not been as arresting but his message was duly delivered around that he is back on business and anyone should pay attention, at least as much as a 13.37 into a strong adverse wind of 1.3m/sec can be taken lightly at this phase.

After thoroughly dominating the world stage in 2010, the American record holder never really hit his stride last summer to crash outside the medals in Daegu but now looks back to his best and determined to claim what is his.

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Her indoor term may have stretched longer than most but in a Wagner-esque manner Katarina Johnson-Thompson‘s campaign followed a pattern of continual powerful crescendos working up to a sensational finale as she narrowly missed out on great Karolina Kluft‘s global indoor U20 landmark in the pentathlon.

Neither the venue nor the timing of her venture recommended such a high-class showing leading up to a three-side multi-event international between Britain, France and Spain in Cardiff despite a lengthy string of PBs en route. Yet, the Merseysider turned up with ideas of her own to issue a vigorous statement before turning round into a massive outdoor season.

At the end of the day, it is no mean feat to shake a mark of 4535pts set in Wien that laid a sound platform for the Swede to conquer the senior European crown in Munich back in 2002, indicating that the young Briton could be on the verge of a quantum leap on the international ladder.

Johnson-Thompson hit the ground running as she swept over the hurdles in 8.48 secs, tying her nearly month-old PB, for 1021pts to a flying start before she swung onto the infield to set the arena alight as she soared over a big PB of 1.88m in the high jump, worth a mighty 1080pts to the good.

Adding to the amazement, that made the highest an U20 girl from these shores has cleared since an identical figure by Vikki Hubbard in 2006 and just 3cm shy of the total British U20 record of 1.91m co-held by Lea Goodman (nee Haggett, 1991) and Susan Moncrief (nee Jones, 1997), moving up into equal fifth in the all-time charts.

For that matter, the individual event now savours a rare sight of four female high jumpers over 1.88m or higher in a single season, a privilege lost for many a year, with the entire outdoor spell still lying ahead at that.

The thrill of her latest feat ran away with KJT to put a third PB on the trot at 11.68m in the shot range (640pts) and she might have felt slightly disappointed to land at ‘only’ 6.24m (924pts) on the bounce in the long jump pit, having set a UK U20 indoor record of 6.39m this term.

And there was yet more to come as she wrapped up a fairy tale venture with a total new PB of 2:17.24 over the anchor 800m (861pts), her fourth out of five disciplines, to score an eventual 4526pts for a massive British junior indoor record by no less than 313pts, also the owner of the previous marker at 4213 from Sheffield last year.

She must have taken a moment or two to shake off a momentary daze finding out how desperately close she had come to Kluft’s milestone, skimming past by a mere 9pts, but there would be no words to render her elation at gaining the age group runner-up spot in the history of the event worldwide, making her own mark on the global stage.

It is definitely going to be most intriguing to see how she is going to translate that form into the heptathlon now and it won’t be long before an initial gauge is obtained as she is lining up at the 25 Multistar at Desenzano, Italy, on 5 & 6 May, a multi-eventer also contested by Kelly Sotherton on her return to these quarters.

Meaning that the event will also hold an incorporated essential first British head-to-head between two of the three main contenders for the remaining two Olympic berths alongside certain-to-be-selected Jessica Ennis, the third being Commonwealth champion Louise Hazell.

Incidentally, Johnson-Thompson has also moved third highest scorer ever in the overall rankings of the pentathlon in Britain behind only Ennis’s recent 4965pts in Istanbul and Sotherton’s  4852pts in Valencia 2008.

A name to watch out for the future is also Morgan Lake, having not turned her 15 yet, who turned in an astonishing for her tender age 3953pts in the U20 competition to miss out on winner Aurelie Chaboudez (FRA) by a mere 4 points.

Her superb score sheet displayed a 9.10 secs in the hurdles, 1.79m (PB) in the high jump, 11.32m in the shot, 5.61m in the long jump and a PB of 2:26.55 in the 800m – the prospects of the event look brightest indeed!

Katy Marchant was third on 3934pts, an agonizing sole point outside her PB, as she set PBs of 8.67 secs over the sticks and 2:25.07 over 800m for a solid performance in her own right.

Results

http://www.thepowerof10.info/resultsfiles/2012/64155_6002_25032012230252_New%20Compressed%20(zipped)%20Folder.zip

PS The highest ever total assembled by an U20 belongs to East German Sibylle Thiele with 4694pts (8.59, 1.86, 14.32, 6.51, 2:20.4) from 1984 but was performed on an oversize track and thus cannot count for record purposes.

The men’s 50km race walking is an event that has not only fallen from grace but even sunk into an abyss of anonymity as the golden triumphs of Tommy Green (1932), Harry Whitlock (1936) and Don Thompson (1952) in the Olympics feel all but forgotten and ranks are scattered nowadays.

Chris Maddocks was the last walker to represent Britain in the ultimate showpiece back in Sydney 2000 to simply illustrate the plunging fortunes in this quarter through the last age, as does the shortage of marks under four hours since his clocking of 3h57:10 that very year; but that could be about to change…

Driven by the call of the home Olympics, Dominic King walked out of his skin to clock a huge PB of 4h06:34 at the high-profile Dudinska Patdesiatka, Slovakia, on Saturday and earn a solid footing in the Olympic B qualifying territory (4h09) that could hand him a much longed-for spot on the British team for London.

The 28-year-old Colchester Harrier slashed well over 8 minutes off his previous lifetime figure of 4h14:55 from last year in doing so to move up into eighth in the UK all-time lists for good measure. But, funnily enough, his new mark cannot go down even as a family best since twin brother Daniel holds a PB of 4h04:49 from the former leap year.

Nothing can be taken for granted, of course, but with the Olympics held on home soil selectors and fans could feel inclined alike to see Team GB represented in as many events across the Games program as possible, even if King does not suggest medal or top eight material.

By the way, Daniel posted a substantial PB of 71:44 over 10 miles a mere couple of seconds behind his brother at the Lee Valley last month and it will be interesting to see whether he could challenge Dominic’s claim in this matter. At any rate, it’s good to see some light glimmering at the end of the tunnel for the event after some time.

Reigning Olympic champion Alex Schwazer cashed in on a superb sharpener of 1h17:30 to win over 20km in Lugano the previous weekend, a national record and sixth fastest in history, and dominated with aplomb in the teeth of warm conditions into a world-leading mark of 3h40:58, issuing a statement around that he is heading to London fully prepared to defend his title.

The Italian did not fail to admit so in his post-race interview, saying “I was thinking I can go somewhere around 3:45 so I’m even surprised it was so fast. It shows I’m in my best shape ever,” although he should expect a tough proposition from his Russian rivals in particular.

Lukasz Nowak was runner-up well behind in a PB of 3h44:24 and compatriot Rafal Sikora closed out the podium slots in also a PB of 3h46:16 as they endeavour to uphold the vast legacy left to Polish race-walking by great Robert Korzeniowski.

German Andre Hohne was fourth in 3h49:50 and Alexandros Papamichail followed on fifth in a huge PB of 3h55:13, fastest by a Greek race-walker since 1990, while Brendan Boyce as good as secured selection for the Irish Olympic team by way of a second A qualifier on the trot in 3h57:53, a slight PB by five seconds.

European champion Yohan Diniz (FRA) was also due to line up and set up an enthralling encounter with Schwazer on a fabulous national record of 1h17:43 for runner-up in Lugano, tenth fastest ever, but was apparently a late withdrawal.

IAAF Report

http://www.iaaf.org/Mini/WRC12/News/NewsDetail.aspx?id=64450

Incidentally, Tom Bosworth worked his way to a big PB of 1h25:49 for an overall 28th in that same race in Switzerland the previous weekend to draw within shouting distance of the B Olympic standard (1h24:30) for London, providing further evidence of turning fortunes for British race-walking.

The U23 athlete knocked a good 1:29 off his previous best from last year and will need to find at least a further 1:19 off to make a solid case for selection, which looks well capable of. His time was the fastest in two years by a Brit for good measure.

Bosworth’s groupmate Alex Wright got disqualified and Ben Wears pulled a SB of 1h29:52, not far off his PB of 1h29:00, for 36th some way behind.

Guatemala’s Erick Barrondo was third in a hefty national record of 1h18:25 followed in fourth by Ukraine’s Nazar Kovalenko in 1h19:55 to round out four national landmarks out of the top four finishers in a contest of excellent depth.

Tatiana Sibileva (RUS) walked away a convincing winner in the women’s version despite coming considerably shy of her SB in 1h28:03 ahead of Guatemala’s Mirna Ortiz in 1h28:54, doubling the country’s national marks on the day, and third-spotted Elisa Rigaudo (ITA) in 1h29:25.

Results

http://services.datasport.com/2012/lauf/gplugano/

Goldie Sayers came out top performer of the British outfit on show at the European Cup Winter Throwing in Bar, Montenegro, as she received high marks on her second pre-season assignment by means of a further Olympic A qualifier and a new UK leading figure in the javelin this season.

Goldie Sayers in her post-competition interview

The Beijing fourth-placer took some time to get into her rhythm through the competition but got her throwing together in the fourth round to reach 62.75m and improve on her 62.18m opener from Loughborough for an eventual runner-up behind Slovenian Martina Ratej, the current world leading marker setting 63.59m in her second effort.

If there could be an early note of caution for the Briton, that should be pointed out to putting up her average across her series as she couldn’t find her way over the 60m line in any of her other five efforts (X, 57.53, 59.32, 62.75, 59.56, X) – but there is plenty of time for that to be ironed out.

Daegu finalist Brett Morse might have been looking for something more than fifth at a SB and UK leading 61.63m, having flung the overweight 2.5kg implement in the same region in training, but had to endure a long wait before he clicked into gear in his very last effort of a competition convincingly won by Dutchman Eric Cadee at a SB of 64.09m.

Yet, the Welshman can still be content with a distance that was over 2m on his respective outing last year, his series 56.68, 59.22, X, 58.36, X, 61.63, whereas Chris Scott struggled down in last place at only 56.78m.

Coming on the back of a potential world indoor best of 58.97m in Vaxjo, Jade Nicholls found the particular discus circle tough going, just like Scott, to languish down in ninth place at a third-round 56.92m in the women’s A competition with three fouls to her account.

But it’s very much about blowing away some winter cobwebs at the moment and she has got to wait for all components of her performance to fall in place, as has Eden Francis who opened her discus account with 54.85m in the B pool.

Global silver medallist Nadine Muller (GER), though, has come out all guns blazing this season to fire a thunderous warning to her major rivals with a last-round early PB of 68.89m, the farthest mark set worldwide since Irina Yatsenko‘s 69.14 in 2004, backed up by an earlier marginally lower intermediate PB of 68.81m and two more throws in the 67m, displaying frightening form and consistency.

Croatian European champion Sandra Perkovic, returning from a ban, was no slouch either to show that she has lost none of her throwing prowess by way of a 67.19m to clinch the U23 competition as the event looks to be working up to an exciting prospect in view of the Olympics.

Francis suffered a nightmare showing in the women’s shot on the opening day as she could only register a mere valid attempt of 16.03m to finish way down in 14th place as red-hot favourite Nadzeya Ostapchuk comfortably asserted herself with a last-gasp 20.29m topping out a consistent series ahead of Germany’s Nadine Kleinert (19.12).

Portoguese Marco Fortes made amends for a disappointing world indoor campaign in Istanbul, crashing out of the final, as he put an outdoor world-leading and national record of 21.02m at his third attempt in the men’s edition.

In the women’s hammer, Sarah Holt placed a useful second in the B group at 64.17m in her third attempt behind Tereza Kralova‘s (CZE) 66.13m while Moldova’s Zalina Marghieva served up a major upset on world champion Tatyana Lysenko (RUS) by landing a national record of 73.60m against the latter’s 72.87m, with France’s Stephanie Falzon third at 72.60m in a close tussle.

Alex Smith slotted in a decent fifth spot in the men’s equivalent A pool where Russia’s Kiril Ikonnikov prevailed at 75.95m as men struggled to meet their standards on the first day, with Scot Mark Dry getting the win in the B competition out of a 69.69m best on the day.

Closing out the British entries, Merwyn Luckwell and Lee Doran suffered below par displays with 74.98 and 73.73m for sixth and eighth in the senior men’s javelin well down on Turkey’s Avan Fatih who turned out the only marker over 80m with a SB of 81.09m.

Results

http://www.ecwt2012bar.org/

Meanwhile, Oklahoma-based U20 Nick Miller hurled a big PB of 72.80m with the junior implement (6kg) to win at the Tulsa Duels in Stillwater and go top of the UK respective charts for an encouraging opener to the season. His previous best was down to 66.79m from two seasons ago at the UK U23 Championships in Bedford.

 

Official sponsors ADIDAS and leading designer Stella McCartney, the daughter of famous ‘Beatle’ Paul, have launched the official Team GB kit that will be donned by British athletes during the London Olympic Games in summer, marked with a prominent spread of shades of indigo blue but also a striking absence of St George’s red stripes in the depicted Union Jack.

The premiere was held at the Tower Of London today and employed a large group of around 30 British international athletes across a range of Olympic sports, such as Sir Chris Hoy, Vicky Pendleton, Phillips Idowu and Jessica Ennis, that modelled the performance line through a variety of items like competition kit, training gear and footwear.

Nevertheless, despite the delight of several top stars involved at the outcome, the concept of a deconstructed Union Jack incorporated into parts of the outfits has roused heavy controversy, debate and criticism around Britain, with the conspicuous absence of red (at best squeezed into a thin strip around the neck) forming the bone of contention in the issue.

McCartney, the Creative Director on the project, defended her design saying “I wanted to start with the union flag, but I’m really aware the reds, whites and blues are in other nations’s flags and sometimes you can feel quite confused when you are watching the Games… is that American, is that French? I wanted to make it slightly more delicate and have more texture.”

Taking her up on this point, however, there begs the question why a vest bearing a full British flag wouldn’t make the British team more easily recognisable in the various arenas, or why would anyone get more confused. Or, turning to a chief argument widely deployed around, why the new kit would inject more unity into the team than a more British colours-oriented one?

At the same time, McCartney comes to contradict her earlier statement, as if trying to salvage a compromise, saying “It’s very recognisable still, I’ve represented all the parts of Great Britain. There’s a lot of red in there, but in a non-traditional way..”

On the ground of performance, one shouldn’t have the slightest doubt that the new Olympic kit is state-of-the-art and streamlined to offer the best possible competitive benefits and advantages to British athletes in their exertions to mount the best ever medal haul in history.

So, what do you make of the Team GB kit that will parade around the various Olympic venues of London in summer? Is it really an ingenious concept or a blunder on the part of ADIDAS? Personally, I do find myself quite fancying the cycling and men’s athletics kit, yet red ought to have taken its righteous place into the Union Jack thereon, but I also reckon the women’s respective outfit comes across quite dull and uninspiring the other way round.

BBC Story

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17457729

Past British Olympic Kits

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-17474959

New York turns into a happy ground for Chris Thompson as he produced a strong display over the half marathon in the streets of the famous American city in a big PB of 61:23 to follow up on his victory at the Dash To The Finish 5k in November, deputising well for missing last year’s winner and friend Mo Farah.

Having run a low 62-minuter in South London last autumn, the European silver medallist showed confident and intent from early on to mix it with the abundance of talent on show around him and take his game a level higher over a distance on the upper boundary of his range, consolidating a strong endurance platform for his campaign over 10000m in summer.

‘Thommo’ got off to a 14:05 split in the opening 5k and went past the 10km mark in 29:05 in a six-strong chasing pack some way off the searing pace of Deriba Merga (ETH) and Peter Kirui (KEN) up front to maintain his form nicely through the second half into a fabulous seventh place.

A  string of excellent scalps picked like Brasilian Marilson dos Santos, American Meb Keflezighi, Dathan Ritzenhein and Australian Ben StLawrence in a event lying more in their court will offer a further mental boost as a time around 27:10 looks to beckon over ever more in his specialty on the horizon.

Thompson’s glow rubbed off on a revamped Scott Overall who kept riding on the wave of his marathon breakthrough to finish strongly just a place and a mere two seconds behind in 61:25, shattering his previous marker of 63:21 from Indianapolis last May.

Already selected for London, the 29-year-old marathoner looks to have finally found his niche in the distance world and poised to move up another level on the bounce on the evidence of his performance, having ‘warmed up’ with a 69:47 half in Silverstone a week before on Sunday.

Incidentally, those times saw Thompson move up into eighth and Overall ninth to bring about a considerable revision to the top ten of the British all-time rankings in the distance.

Also breaking new ground was Liverpoolian Jonny Mellor as he ventured deep into uncharted territories to clock a superb debut of 62:59 in 19th place that could set him up nicely for a crack at the Olympic A standard of 27:45 over 10000m, where Thompson and Farah have effectively secured two of the three available Olympic spots, while James Walsh followed on some way off in 32nd in 65:48, his fastest time since 2005.

At the top of the race, Kirui brilliantly weathered the storm of Merga, who attempted to settle affairs from early on, and when he breezed past around 600m out the Ethiopian could offer no answer to slip through the gears to a commanding victory in a PB of 59:39, carving out a striking nine-second gap on his rival (59:48).

Feyisa Lilesa (ETH) was outside the hour into a distant third in 60:45 followed on at a similar interval by Kenyans Wesley Korir and Sam Chelanga who came home tied in a joint PB of 61:19 for fourth and fifth respectively.

Womenwise, Scot Freya Murray set a PB by 10 seconds into 72:32 for 17th and marathon Olympic hopeful Claire Hallissey might have been looking for a little more than her eventual 72:58 a couple of places behind.

The main race was reeled out on an identical pattern to the men’s as eventual victor Firehiwot Dado (ETH) swept beyond long-time leader Kim Smith (NZL), a fervent front-runner, in the late stages to clinch a thorough win in a PB of her own of 68:35 against the latter’s 68:43 into the wind, establishing a successful line on the back of her marathon triumph in the same surroundings last autumn.

Home favourite Kara Goucher was third in 69:12 well ahead of Dutch Hilda Kibet (69:42) and Janet Cherobon Bawcom (USA) drifted home in fifth in 69:55, first time under 70 minutes in her career.

Results

http://web2.nyrrc.org/cgi-bin/htmlos.cgi/25167.1.699246165318191398

The fringes of the international stage can hardly accommodate the class and quality of such athletics nobles as Jeremy Warriner and Wallace Spearmon who have staged a sound comeback to the frame to serve a reminder that they are still major forces to be reckoned with.

A PB of 6.66 secs over 60m indoors teed up Spearmon nicely to a smashing outdoor opener

Having missed virtually the entire last summer, Spearmon stormed out of his marks to a cracking 10.06 secs over 100m from the dawn of his new campaign at the TCU Invitational in Texas and swiftly reassert himself as a leading character in the sprints.

The ‘Prince’ may have been assisted by a sweet tailwind over the legitimate limit (2.8m/sec) but that can hardly take anything off the impact of such a display, in particular coming at this stage of the season when legs are still heavy and tight out of the long hard winter training.

Not renowned among the fastest of starters, Spearmon will be brimming with confidence on the momentum of his opener and will be gunning for even more striking figures when he lines up over his specialty of the 200m at the forthcoming weekend.

A name to catch the eye in the dash was also U23 Charles Silmon who won the first heat in a legal 10.18 secs (1.5m/sec) for a searing start to his season.

Warriner, for his part, powered round the furlong to a swift 20.66 secs (2.6m/sec) in first place and was pleased with a performance that effectively represents his best ever opening trip over the distance in March since 2006, setting a comparable 20.71 at the same meeting last year.

The former Olympic and world 400m champion also ran a solid 20.93 secs on the boards a couple of weeks earlier in Arkansas to establish that he is healthy and fully fit again as he is steadily setting his sights on reclaiming his lost Olympic crown from fellow American Lashawn Merritt.

“I want to show people that I haven’t gone anywhere. Last year I just got hurt, and I am going to be back where I was,” he said after the race, indicating that he has lost none of his hunger and winning mentality.

Renowned coach Clyde Hart, the man who steered the fortunes of great Michael Johnson, makes no secret of sharing this optimism and is quick to stress that if the Texan arrives healthy in London he is going to take something special to beat.

Standards have suffered in recent seasons over the men’s 400m but with the return of ‘king’ Warriner, Merritt and the rise to stardom of Grenada’s sensation Kirani James, hopefully all three turning up and fully fit, the event could restore its splendour and work up to a breathtaking showdown en route to London.

The meet also offered the ground to a mini-breakthrough from 20-year-old Briton Lorraine Ugen as she leapt to a staggering third-effort 6.83m, albeit slightly windy (2.8m/sec), in the long jump very much against the flow of her season – or the competition itself come to that.

That said, she was on a steep upward curve after a slow start in early winter and had reached out at 6.51m at the altitude of Albequerque three weeks earlier but that hardly recommended such a follow-up by any means, opening up with a foul and a typical 6.29m (1.8m/sec) at Fort Worth.

As if to add to the intrigue, she had to leave the rest of of her attempts and rush to the starting-line of the overlapping 100m, setting an also wind-aided 11.61 secs (3.4m/sec), so there is going to be some anxious waiting until her next outing to find out more about her new-found form.

If anything, her performance indicates that she is capable of something in the 6.70-6.75m region in legal conditions which would render her as a serious contender for a place alongside Shara Proctor on the British team for London, with the A standard at the top end of that bracket.

Results

http://flashresultstexas.com/2012/tcuinvuniv12/

After the ladies, there comes now the turn of the gentlemen and time to pick the top male performer on the arena of Istanbul at the end of last week. There is a wide range of choices available starting with the big guns as Aston Eaton ran over both the opposition and the world record with a mighty 6645pts in the heptathlon, great Bernard Lagat timed his race to perfection to hold off the younger challenges of Augustine Choge and Mo Farah in a highly tactical 3000m, Renaud Lavillenie finally fended off a resurgent Brad Walker in the skies of pole vault and Justin Gatlin evoked images of his grandeur of old to dominate the men’s 60m in 6.46 secs.

Nevertheless, surprises seemed to be the order of the day as Aries Merritt got it right when it mattered on a wishy-washy build-up through the rounds to stun Xiang Liu over the hurdles, Dimitris Hondrokoukis must have been hardly fancied in any quarters to steal a narrow win over very much the who-is-who of men’s high jump, Ryan Whiting struck a stunning late winner over David Storl right when the shot put contest looked like heading the German’s way and ‘overlooked’ Costarican Nery Brenes forced Kirani James into the shadows on a searing run of 45.13 secs in the 400m.

Christian Taylor‘s defeat at the hands of countryman Will Claye, who pulled together a superb series, in the triple jump would not so much strike as a surprise on the form books as over the manner of it, having opened out to a seeming gold medal banker of 17.63m before the latter came back with a massive 17.70m in the second round.

So whom would you pick as top man in Istanbul?

With the World Indoor Championships now behind us and slotted into the timeline of history, it’s about time to assess performances and pick out the individuals that have made the greatest impression around on the arena of Istanbul from Friday through to Sunday. Let’s start with the ladies first where there is a wide diversity of choices on offer to pick from.

Natalya Dobrynska blended an upset on favourites Jessica Ennis and Tatyana Chernova along with a world record in the pentathlon, Sanyar Richards-Ross thoroughly dominated the 400m, Sally Pearson turned a class apart over the hurdles in 7.73 secs and Brittney Reese worked magic to fly out to a massive 7.23m in the long jump.

But there were also the underdogs that triumphed like returning mother Chaunte Howard-Lowe to stun the nearly invincible Anna Chicherova in the high jump, Yamile Aldama to land a first major title well into her 39 years at an impressive 14.82m and the British quarter of Shana Cox, Nicola Sanders, Christine Ohuruogu and Perri Shakes-Drayton that ran out of their skin to pip the US outfit on the line against all odds in the women’s 4x400m.

So whom would you go for? Make your pick please!

Jade Nicholls has turned up her late winter-break competitive spell a couple of gears as she spun out a promising last-gasp 58.97m in a first-ever indoor appearance at the relatively known for this purpose throwing meeting in Vaxjo, Sweden, on Saturday.

Britain’s arguable top female discus thrower opened up with 55.23m, a considerable improvement on her outdoor debut of 52.52m at Loughborough, but had to wait until late in the competition to click into higher gear after three fouls and a fifth-round 53.53m – but all is well that ends well according to great Shakespeare.

Apart from an apparent UK best indoors, the good news is that her winning mark also appears to be the farthest ever thrown worldwide in an indoor environment, which would be a very welcome boost and set-out to her Olympic journey.

Prior to the meeting, the best known performance was German Sabine Rumpf‘s 57.95m at the same venue last year by all available accounts to back up this claim nicely.

Nicholls went over the 60m line for the first time ever with a PB of 60.76m at Hendon last summer but was not selected for Daegu subsequently, yet she will be looking to add to this into the Olympic A qualifying territory and secure a spot on the British team for London this time round.

Currently on a training spell in Sweden, Daegu finalist Brett Morse was also out competing to an opener of 59.14m (SB) for fifth while Chris Scott was a place behind at an indoor best of 58.13m in the men’s edition well behind convincing winner Benn Harradine (AUS), who had five efforts over 61m peaking at 64.12m.

David Coleman took the B competition at an indoor best of 51.88m and Ryan Spencer-Jones put 17.13m for fifth in the men’s shot.